GRAY No. 15

Page 24


| in season

local flora de S I G N I N G with

Written by DEBRA PRINZING : Photographed by alex hayden

You’ve heard of Slow Food. Meet Slow Flowers—

a renaissance taking shape as floral designers seek botanical inspiration closer to home. Like its culinary predecessor, this movement reflects a cultural shift, a desire to support regional farms and to reduce our negative impact on the earth. A vast majority of the cut flowers we buy today in America—approximately 80 percent—are imported. Domestic production fell off a cliff after the 1991 Andean Trade Preference Agreement, which incentivized South America to shift from producing drugs to growing roses, carnations, and other varieties. America’s cottage industry of familyowned flower farms had trouble competing and began to disappear. But it’s comeback time. Some of the most creative florists working today are devoted to local, seasonal blooms. Freshness and quality— not to mention ephemeral beauty and sensory delight—are at the heart of this story. There’s heightened pleasure in knowing who grew your flowers, and how they got to your table. To celebrate the arrival of spring, we asked three area designers to create arrangements with exclusively local flora sourced from the three-year-old Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-to-florist cooperative in Georgetown.

Kelly Sullivan, Botanique, Seattle For this arrangement, Sullivan plucked apricot peony-flowering tulips from her own Seattle cutting garden to pair with sultry purple hellebores and delicate stems of white bleeding hearts, both grown at Jello Mold Farm in Mount Vernon, Washington. “These spring flowers are so ephemeral and the pastels contrast beautifully against the moody purple flowers,” she says.



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